Additional Federal Charges Brought in Superseding Indictment for Murder of Philadelphia Police Sergeant James O’Connor
PHILADELPHIA – United States Attorney Jacqueline C. Romero announced that Steven Mazzone, 59, of Philadelphia, PA, was sentenced to five years in prison, three years of supervised release by United States District Judge R. Barclay Surrick, for his role in several conspiracies to commit racketeering, making extortionate extensions of credit, and conducting an illegal gambling business, all while serving as the underboss of the Philadelphia La Cosa Nostra (“LCN”), also known as the Philadelphia “mafia” or “the mob.”
In June 2022, Mazzone pled guilty to five counts in a Superseding Indictment, thereby admitting his guilt as a leader of the Philadelphia mafia who directed a vast network of criminal activity that spanned Philadelphia and parts of New Jersey. His conduct involved conspiracies to commit crimes involving extortion, illegal gambling, drug dealing, and loansharking. As the underboss, the defendant set rules for LCN members and associates and collected profits from illegal activity that was siphoned upward through the LCN command structure to ensure the enterprise continued to exist. Mazzone also organized the composition of smaller groups of members and associates, or “crews,” which reported to management, or “capos,” who in turn reported to Mazzone.
The investigation into the organization, conducted by the Federal Bureau of Investigation, the Pennsylvania State Police, and the Philadelphia Police Department, utilized wiretap interceptions of cellular phones used by LCN members and associates to conduct illegal sports betting and loansharking in the Philadelphia area. The wiretap evidence established that Mazzone financed high-interest loans to customers of the sportsbook who were unable to pay their debts, resulting in the collection of interest rates on loans of as much as 264%. Members of the LCN made several threats of violence to debtors who did not pay, including one threat to make a victim “disappear” for nonpayment on a loan.
The defendant’s command and control over the LCN was made apparent in a recorded conversation at a “making ceremony” to induct new members into the mob in South Philadelphia in 2015, at which time an LCN member announced that “We’re all in the family now,” to which Mazzone added, “Nobody break this chain . . . I know you were explained the rules already.” Mazzone also discussed his co-conspirators’ efforts to extort bookmakers and loan sharks in and around Atlantic City, New Jersey, while he coached his underlings in their methods of intimidation and collection of gambling proceeds. At that same meeting, the defendant declared, “We got to get a hold back on Atlantic City, buddy! That’s what I want. That’s what I want. We have to get that back. I mean we have a few guys out there, you know, right now. You’re going to have a couple more guys out there with you. . . . I want you, I want you to do something.”
This case represents Mazzone’s second federal conviction for criminal activity in connection with the LCN. He had previously committed similar offenses in Philadelphia over 20 years ago as a member of the organization. In 2000, when he was in his early 30s, Mazzone was convicted in this District for conspiracy to commit racketeering and illegal sports bookmaking. In that case, Mazzone was captured on intercepted wiretap conversations discussing the extortion. One of the victims was shot and seriously injured during the course of the extortion. Mazzone was ultimately sentenced to nine years in prison for that conviction.
“Even though the Philadelphia mob has been weakened over the decades due in large part to persistent law enforcement efforts, the LCN and its criminal activities are still very much a problem and are damaging the communities in which it operates,” said U.S. Attorney Romero. “The U.S. Attorney’s Office is committed to prosecuting anyone who is committing serious federal crimes like these, and we will not rest until the mob is nothing but a memory that lives on in movies.”
“The Department of Justice has long been committed to dismantling LCN across the country and reducing its reach and influence,” said Assistant Attorney General Kenneth A. Polite, Jr. of the Justice Department’s Criminal Division. “In this case, the defendant used his role as the underboss of the Philadelphia organized crime family to try to revive its fortunes, extorting victims in Pennsylvania and New Jersey. As this prosecution demonstrates, the department remains steadfast in its commitment to eradicating organized crime from our communities.”
“Steven Mazzone has been here before, previously convicted in an LCN case and sentenced to federal prison,” said Jacqueline Maguire, Special Agent in Charge of the FBI’s Philadelphia Division. “When he got out, he went right back to the same streets and same old rackets — overseeing loansharking, illegal gambling, and extortion. Mazzone and co. need to accept that the FBI is just as committed to shutting down organized crime here as ‘the family’ has been to sustaining it.”
The case was investigated by the Federal Bureau of Investigation the Pennsylvania State Police, and the Philadelphia Police Department, and is being prosecuted by Assistant United States Attorneys Jonathan Ortiz and Justin Ashenfelter, and U.S. Department of Justice Trial Attorney Alexander Gottfried, Organized Crime and Gang Section.
UNITED STATES ATTORNEY’S OFFICE
EASTERN DISTRICT OF PENNSYLVANIA
615 Chestnut Street, Suite 1250
Philadelphia, PA 19106
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